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In addition to losing head coach James Franklin to Penn State, the Commodores lose more production from its 2013 team than does any team in the conference. Only nine starters return, the team is changing both offensive and defensive schemes, and head coach Derek Mason has never run a program before. Vanderbilt still has a good nucleus, thanks to Franklin’s inspired recruiting, but it would surprise no one if the Commodores missed the postseason.
Vanderbilt, for years, has tried to enter the realm of big-time football. One could argue that it finally happened over the offseason, when four players were dismissed following arrests for rape and a fifth player was suspended after being indicted as an accessory. Vanderbilt isn’t accustomed to headlines like these, and as disturbing as the charges were on their face, on the field it creates more headaches for this program than it would for most SEC teams. Vanderbilt is still a thin team, and all five players charged were in the two-deep. This comes just as James Franklin is trying to take Vanderbilt from being a perennial SEC doormat to a program that can compete for postseason trips to Atlanta.Continue reading …